Montréal - CurrencyATMs are available in many parts of Montréal - ensure you inform your bank before travelling abroad, and be aware you may be charged for cash withdrawals. It is advisable to exchange some cash before arriving in Montréal.
Visit the other Montréal city guide sections to get more detailed travel advice, and information on the best Montréal attractions and sightseeing activities, recommended shops and restaurants, as well as the best Montréal hotels.
Montréal - Notes and Coins
Currency Exchange in Montréal
Montréal’s currency is the Canadian dollar, which is relatively stable. Like the US dollar, among others, the Canadian dollar is comprised of 100 units, called cents. You will see coins for 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents, as well as $1 and $2. The paper currency is blue, purple, green, red, or brown, depending on the denomination. There are $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills. Many stores will check the $20, $50, and $100 bills with a special pen when you use them to ensure they are not counterfeit.
Carrying large amounts of cash while you are traveling is never a completely safe thing to do as wallets and purses can easily become lost or stolen. It is a good idea to have a bit of cash for the events you plan for the day and a credit or debit card. Travelers checks are almost a thing of the past – though many vendors and stores will accept them – but prepaid travelers checks that come in the form of a card are handy ways to keep your money safer. ATMs are located throughout Montréal. There will very likely be at least one fee for withdrawing money. Hotels, attractions, and stores routinely take major credit and debit cards, and you may also use your debit card at stores and receive cash back to avoid ATM charges.
You can exchange your currency for Canadian money in your home country before leaving and at banks and credit unions in Montréal. The Bank of Canada offers a convenient online currency converter if you want to know how much your currency is worth against the Canadian dollar.
When in Montréal, do your banking early in the day. Banks are open Monday through Friday, though their hours may be shorter than foreign visitors are used to. They typically open at 9:00am or 10:00am and close at 3:00pm. You will find some banks, however, that have longer weekday evening hours and shortened Saturday hours.
A better bet when in the city is to use ATM, credit, debit, or prepaid cards. You will have no trouble finding an ATM, as they are sprinkled liberally over Montréal. Look on the back of your card to ensure that either the Cirrus or Plus logos are printed. These networks are international and indicate that your card will be accepted during your travels. The withdrawing bank will automatically calculate the exchange rate. One note: you may have problems finding “ATM.” Look instead for GAB, or Guichet Automatique Bancaire, or “Services Automatises.” There are likely to be a few fees for withdrawing money, particularly if you are a foreign guest. It is not uncommon for there to be fees in excess of $5.
You can use major credit or debit cards at hotels, shops, restaurants, and attractions, and many of these companies also issue prepaid cards, which are ideal for traveling. Make a note of the contact information and account number in case it becomes lost or stolen. If this happened with cash, your vacation would be ruined. With cards, you can report them as lost and not have to pay for fraudulent charges. It is a good way to protect yourself, your money, and your vacation.